Finding the Way to Love

The Unexpected Gift from an Ex-boyfriend

Patricia Brooks
3 min readMay 25, 2021


I’ve searched for love, all of my life.

I guess we all have to some degree.

Early on I didn’t feel worthy of love. I was not a planned child. While I felt cared for and in a sense wanted by my parents, I felt like an intruder in our small family. My brother seemed to be the center of attention. I took that to mean they loved him more than they loved me — that I was not worthy of that kind of love.

As a teen, I was accepting of the attention from any boy who would give me attention. I wasn’t discerning. I craved to be loved, I craved to be worthy of being loved.

Now all these years later, as I follow my course in life, remnants of this “I am not worthy of being loved” idea have thwarted my efforts to find it. And I recently found a big piece of the puzzle, a big key that has the potential to unlock the door to love.

I recently received a message that said: “You are one woman I loved. You are intelligent, elegant, and worthy of lots of respect and happiness.” This came from, Clarence, a man I went on three dates with back in 2018. This message was unsolicited and it wasn’t the first message I received from him of this kind. When he sent me messages like this in the past, I would thank him and move on in an effort to quickly rid myself of the remembrance of our relationship, another failed attempt at love. But this time, when I thanked him and told him I was happy that our brief encounter touched him so, he responded with, “No, really, you are intelligent, elegant, and worthy of respect and happiness.”

This repetition was something I couldn’t ignore. It wasn’t our relationship or the time we spent together that he was complimenting, it was me, my character, he was lauding.

And, I had to acknowledge this. I couldn’t ignore it. In accepting his compliment I was forced to consider the truth in it. I had heard similar things before from boyfriends during breakups and I have discounted these words. I always perceived them to mean, “It’s not you, it’s me. You aren’t the reason I can’t continue on in this relationship, there is something deficient in me.” So I never took the kind words to heart.

Clarence’s message, the fact that he felt compelled to repeat it, and that we were three years beyond our dating situation (he no longer had a need to excuse ending our relation) made me realize the truth in his sentiment. This has helped me see the truth in the positive things other men have told me too.

Now I intend to use Clarence’s message as an affirmation. It will help me to build my self-esteem, self-love, and my worthiness. It’s a reminder to me to listen to what others say and consider the truth it might be pointing to, even if it’s a truth my limited perspective has obscured.



Patricia Brooks

Bold, fledgling entrepreneur, author, podcast host Discovering Courage, Finding Freedom, Living in France! Adventures.Insights. Stories.